SEM and SEO – How Are They Connected?

It is important for all businesses to have a prominent and robust online presence to gain a competitive edge over their rivals. An impressive online presence requires systematic and streamlined marketing efforts that are directed to augment the position of a business. When we talk of online marketing services, there are several tools which need to be used in an optimal combination for best results. SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SMO (Social Media Optimization), Email Marketing, Web Analytics, etc. are a few such tools that need to be deployed judiciously to generate an optimum mix that yields desired outcomes.

Here in this blog we discuss SEM and SEO and how these two concepts are connected. These two terms are pretty similar and are often used interchangeably. However, that does not make them synonymous! It is important to understand the two terms to understand their functions and implications. Consolidated online marketing efforts have one principal aim that is have to maximum online visibility through search engines, social media, networking sites, etc. Let us first understand the two concepts.

What is SEO?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a very common term and a service used by mostly all businesses, small, medium and large alike. SEO services include implementation of techniques and tactics to help a website rank better in search engine results. The basic aim of SEO is to make a site accessible to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. and make it visible to the target audiences. Higher the rank of a website more is the probability of a user visiting it. SEO is a set of ‘white hat’ industry best practices that are search engine compliant and follows the rules, guidelines and policies as outlined by them. Some of these practices include:

  • Publishing genuine content
  • Appropriate usage of keywords and key phrases
  • Link building
  • Use social media links for more visibility
  • Improving the website to impart a better user experience

What is SEM?

SEM means Search Engine Marketing and is a broader concept than SEO and includes several other components of marketing. White hat techniques used in conventional SEO are targeted at organic search results while SEM is often used to refer to the paid efforts like Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Paid Search Advertising, PPC (Pay per click), CPC (Cost per click), CPM (Cost per thousand impressions), etc. to increase a website’s share of paid as well as organic traffic referrals from search engines.

Conventional SEO, keyword research, web analysis, competitive analysis, paid listings, etc. all form a part of SEM that also aims to increase traffic to a website. SEO is considered as a part of SEM because online success requires a business to show up in organic as well as advertised or paid links that lead to a higher conversion rate.

Difference between SEO and SEM

Having explained the two concepts, understanding the difference between the two is simple. SEO is part of SEM and both are mutually exclusive. Deploying any one will not yield expected results. Outcomes are best when both are implemented optimally in combination.